Amidst war and religious persecution in 1799, President John Adams declares a national day of thanksgiving and prayer
Rare original broadside issued by President John Adams for a proclamation of a day of solemn fasting, one page, 8.25 x 13.25, March 6, 1799. Featuring the printed signatures of President John Adams and Secretary of State Timothy Pickering, the broadside proclaims April 25th as a fast day due to religious persecution in Europe and the naval war with France. In part: "As no truth is more clearly taught in the volume of inspiration, nor any more fully demonstrated by the experience of all ages, than that a deep sense and a due acknowledgment of the governing providence of a Supreme Being and of the accountableness of men to Him as the searcher of hearts and righteous distributor of rewards and punishments, are conducive, equally, to the happiness and rectitude of individuals and to the well being of communities; as it is, also, most reasonable in itself, that men who are made capable of social acts and relations, who owe their improvements to the social state, and who derive their enjoyments from it, should, as a society, make their acknowledgments of dependance and obligation to Him who hath endued them with these capacities, and elevated them in the scale of existence, by these distinctions; as it is, likewise, a plain dictate of duty, and a strong sentiment of nature, that in circumstances of great urgency and seasons of imminent danger, earnest and particular supplications should be made to Him who is able to defend or to destroy; as, moreover, the most precious interests of the people of the United States are still held in jeopardy, by the hostile designs and insidious arts of a foreign nation, as well as by the dissemination among them of those principles subversive of the foundations of all religious, moral and social obligations, that have produced incalculable mischief and misery in other countries; and as, in fine, the observance of special seasons for public religious solemnities, is happily calculated to avert the evils which we ought to deprecate, and to excite to the performance of the duties which we ought to discharge,—by calling and fixing the attention of the people at large to the momentous truths already recited, by affording opportunity to teach and inculcate them, by animating devotion and giving to it the character of a national act:—For these reasons, I have thought proper to recommend, and I do hereby recommend accordingly, that Thursday, the 25th day of April next, be observed, throughout the United States of America, as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting and prayer." Free franked on the reverse in ink by Secretary of State Timothy Pickering, "T. Pickering," with a portion of the address erased. In very good condition, with seal-related paper loss to the upper blank area, splitting to the ends of the horizontal folds, and complete (repairable) separation to the central horizontal fold.